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Inez Austin passes at 91

10/19/2017, 2:18 p.m.
The moment you met Inez C. Austin, you knew you were in the company of a very special woman. Her ...
Inez Austin

The moment you met Inez C. Austin, you knew you were in the company of a very special woman. Her smile always lit up the room. She was deeply rooted in her community, and her civic life, her church life and her family life were truly important to her. She enjoyed her life thoroughly, but possibly her greatest joy came four years ago at the birth of her twin grandchildren, Kyle and Abigail. She marveled at their curiosity and took such pleasure in spending all the time she could with them. Inez passed Oct. 13 at age 91.

Inez was born Dec. 1, 1925, in Newport News, Va., to William Herbert and Ida Banks. She grew up and attended local schools in the Newport News area, graduating from Huntington High School around 1942. Soon after graduation, Inez left Newport News for New York City, where she attended nursing school at Harlem Hospital. While at nursing school, Inez met and fell in love with Reginald Austin Jr. They married Aug. 31, 1949. At that time if you got married, you were not allowed to stay in nursing school. Therefore, Inez’s nursing career was cut short and she left the school. She loved New York and resided there from that point forward.

Soon after their marriage Inez and Reginald had the first of their three children. Kyle Janet was born in 1950, and then a son Reginald III was born in 1952. In the mid-1950s Inez entered the workforce full time as a corrections officer in the New York City Department of Corrections at the New York Women’s House of Detention at 10 Greenwich Ave. She stayed with the city until her retirement in 1975.

In 1967, Inez and Reginald were blessed with another son, Kenneth. Often Inez could be found working as a parent volunteer at P.S. 45 in Queens. She valued education above all else. After her retirement, she returned to school and earned her BA from Queens College and later attended graduate classes at The New School.

Although Inez traveled extensively throughout the world, the lights of Las Vegas and Atlantic City always shone most brightly for her. She was skilled with numbers and enjoyed utilizing those skills both in the casinos and in the stock market. She was also known to use those skills to dispense financial and education-related advice to her circle of friends, family and neighbors.

For more than 65 years she spent summer weekends in the Hamptons at yard sales and thrift shops searching for an elusive treasure or gift for someone special.

Inez was a member of various social organizations and clubs over the years and served in leadership positions in her civic association, UNCA. She was a longtime member of the Social Service Club at Calvary Baptist Church. She was also a proud charter member of the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

Inez leaves behind her sons Reginald III and Kenneth; daughter-in-law Susan; brothers James, Milton, Harold and Thomas; beloved grandchildren Abigail and Kyle; several nieces and nephews, cousins and a host of close friends. She is pre-deceased by her husband of 55 years Reginald, daughter Kyle Janet, sisters Loretta and Doris and brother Calvin.